South Africa's projected growth rate is considered one of the worst in Africa, according to the African Development Bank, which released its African Economic Outlook report for 2012 on Tuesday.
Professor Mthuli Ncube, chief economist and Vice-President of the bank, told a Sandton breakfast audience that growth in sub-Saharan Africa (excluding SA) was expected to be 6,3% this year and next.
The South African economy, meanwhile, is projected to grow by 3,2% next year. It's not far behind the slowest economies on the continent, which include Swaziland (0,8%), Egypt (1,8%), Sudan (2,4%) and Tunisia (3,1%). The fastest-growing economies currently include Libya (14,8%), Niger (8,6%), Ghana (8%) and Ethiopia (7,3%).
Interestingly, Ncube said that more than $50 billion was being pumped into various African economies by the diaspora community, fuelling consumer spending, especially in the telecommunications sector.
He added that youth unemployment was a burning issue all over Africa and countries needed to urgently realise the potential impact it could have on current high growth rates.
A majority of youth citizens in countries like Eqypt, Tunisia, Djibouti and Algeria planned to look for work in the public sector and Ncube warned of dangerous mismatches between youth expectations and what was on offer in local job markets.
"We've got more than enough economists and engineers in Africa. What we need are people who can deal with our governance issues," he said.
Africa has the youngest population in the world. It is thought that by 2030, nearly one in four young people will be African. Ncube suggested that a substantial threat to social cohesion and political stability could result from an inability among policy-makers to create sustainable jobs for the youth segment.